The joint is jumpin’
  |  First Published: April 2007

This place is jumpin’. Following a period of changeable water temperatures and weather, things have finally settled. April is at the tail of my preferred fishing months and is shaping up as the best.

Anyone who predicted that the marine park would have a negative effect on fishing and boating activity at Port Stephens got it all very wrong because this place is like a fishing beehive. The boat ramps are working overtime, in fact we are in real need of at least one other major ramp or, at the very least, a major upgrading of our current facilities.

Inside the Port it’s full steam ahead with fantastic catches of bream, flathead, jewfish, whiting and blue swimmer crabs.

Shoal Bay is boiling with fish and anglers. Cracker dusky flathead have shuffled into the strap weed which covers the bottom and they lie in wait for any unsuspecting juvenile fish or small squid to cruise by.

In the quiet corners squid have gathered while whiting to an impressive 800g spend their time with their tails up and noses down into the sand.

I don’t think that there is a safer, more family-orientated spot for a morning’s fishing than Shoalie.

Just around the corner in Nelson Bay the whiting can be seen swimming among our never-ending stream of holiday makers who get a thrill when the fish decide to dart between their legs.

Further inside the Port, around Soldiers Point, the madness continues. Here the boat ramp reminds me of the checkout at Woolies – all action.

The main targets in the quiet waters are crabs from Tilligerry Creek through Lemon Tree Passage and up the Karuah River. With a limit of five witches’ hats each, it seems at times as if you could walk on the hundreds of floats.

Jewfish have entered the system in big numbers with local champ Wayne Coles reporting fish over 15kg taking soft plastics around both bridges that cross the Karuah River.

The top jewfish spot remains in the deep water that surrounds Middle Island just off Soldiers Point. Live herring, yellow tail and slimy mackerel do the most damage.


If you thought the fish had gone crazy inside the heads, wait until you venture out into the deep water.

Young Steve Duffy reckons that there are more marlin than mullet and to prove a point he recently ventured out to the FAD in the hope of catching his first marlin. As a bonus the mahi mahi were going haywire so he and his mate Andrew Turner took time out to nail 12kg and 17kg thumpers.

Wider out, it all happened for Steve as his marlin attacked. Shane Day remained at the FAD tossing soft plastics and he too landed his first marlin – on a 5” Gulp! By the way, the FAD co-ordinates are S32° 47. 002 E152° 24.600.

On the reefs there is standing room only with jew, trag, kingies and quality snapper flat out. Broughton Island remains the gun jewfish, snapper and king hot spot but other popular reefs include The 21, The V and Gibber.

Close in, swimming in the white water around Boondelbah Island are active schools of tailor around a kilo. Local junior champ Billy Trinkler knows exactly how to catch them.

A mate of mine and his wife recently bought a water bed. Unfortunately, they drifted apart.

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